Marijuana protective behavioral strategies as a moderator of the effects of risk/protective factors on marijuana-related outcomes


Given that both marijuana use and cannabis use disorder peak among college students, it is imperative to determine the factors that may reduce risk of problematic marijuana use and/or the development of cannabis use disorder. From a harm reduction perspective, the present study examined whether the use of marijuana protective behavioral strategies (PBS) buffers or amplifies the effects of several distinct risk and protective factors that have been shown to relate to marijuana-related outcomes (i.e., use frequency and consequences). Specifically, we examined marijuana-PBS use as a moderator of the effects of impulsivity-like traits, marijuana use motives, gender, and marijuana use frequency on marijuana-related outcomes in a large sample of college students (n = 2093 past month marijuana users across 11 universities). In all models PBS use was robustly related with use frequency and consequences (i.e., strongly negatively associated with marijuana outcomes). Among interactions, we found: 1) unique significant interactions between specific impulsivity-like traits (i.e., premeditation, perseverance, and sensation seeking) and marijuana-PBS use in predicting marijuana consequences, 2) unique significant interactions between each marijuana use motive and marijuana-PBS use in predicting marijuana use frequency and 3) marijuana-PBS use buffered the risk associated with male gender in predicting both marijuana outcomes. Our results suggest that marijuana-PBS use can buffer risk factors and enhance protective factors among marijuana using college students. Future research is needed to understand context-specific factors and individual-level factors that may make marijuana-PBS use more effective.

Publication Title

Addictive Behaviors